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Re: Social Committee proposal text (diff), updated

On Tue, Jun 05, 2007 at 07:38:24PM +0100, Ian Jackson wrote:
>  * Josip models the SC's powers on those of the TC.  This is wholly
>    inappropriate because the questions that the SC is required to deal
>    with are very different.

I guess it doesn't make sense to argue much about this, but I have to point
out that that's tech-ctte is the best example we've got so far. Maybe it's
not perfect, but it's a start. The social committee shouldn't start off
being particularly radical.

>  * Josip's text emphasises the SC's role as a writer of policies.
>    We do not need policies, we need admonishment and if necessary
>    enforcement of good conduct.

Uhh, I am not sure where you got that. Did you miss the part that said:

+    <p>No detailed mediation or policy-making.</p>
+    <p>The Social Committee does not engage in design of new
+    proposals and policies.  Such design work should be carried out
+    by individuals discussing in ordinary social forums.</p>

Like you said yourself, this is modelled after tech-ctte.

>  * Josip's text depends heavily on the meaning of the word `social'
>    which I think is vague to the point of uselessness and will
>    lead to jurisdictional disputes.

Jurisdictional disputes between whom? And, given my proposed rules for
deference, exactly how bad can they be? At least if we get to see such
a dispute, then we can resolve it and clarify the vague terms.
Right now we have... nothing.

> The answer is obvious: we want the SC to impose mailing list bans (and
> IRC bans and wiki bans and so forth).  That single power is enough to
> do everything that is lacking, because together with the threat and
> expectation of its exercise, the SC can enforce good behaviour.

There's a subtle point we're glossing over here - we don't need a body
whose ultimate purpose would be to enforce good behaviour. Enforcing good
behaviour, once "good behaviour" is defined, is not a particularly
contentious idea, it's something we can leave that task to the teams that
administer services (public forums in this case). We need a body which
considers arguments and decides which nuances of behaviour are acceptable.
Or it *doesn't* decide on some nuances. The social committee has to assist
in building a consensus, because too much strict delineation doesn't
necessarily do much to help the society. It shouldn't be a priori limited
in scope (to mere production of decisions and their enforcement).

> For these reasons, the powers and processes adopted by the SC and
> those adopted by the TC ought to be very different.  The SC should be
> able to intervene in a public conversation even if neither participant
> is upset - because the SC is supposed to be keeping the venues useable
> for everyone.  The SC should usually be able to act informally, and it
> should normally do so privately and quietly.

I see little to support the notion of a) preemptive action b) private
interventions being something the community would instantly start preferring.

We can't go from public flamewars to private pats on the back.
I doubt that this would have worked ten years ago, let alone today.

> Now, onto the question of policy.  Josip's draft suggests that the SC
> should be in charge of writing social policies and seems to me to read
> as if that is going to be a primary activity of the SC.

Again with this suggestion... how did you get to that conclusion, and at
the same time point out that it's a search&replace on tech-ctte text? :)

> We don't need a definition of arseholeness.

Oh, yes we do. There isn't a single definition of arseholeness that all one
thousand developers will agree upon. (There is barely a single definition
of *anything* that covers all 1k developers, and more in the future.)

> The problem of argumenents in the TC about whether something is
> `technical' or not is already bad enough (although this is partly
> because we don't have a way not to have the rudeness arguments come to
> the TC).  But at least `technical' actually means something.  It will
> be impossible to agree what `social' means.

I can't say I see a notable difference in vagueness between the adjectives
'technical' and 'social'. In our context, the former refers to applied
sciences, and the latter refers to the association of humans. Both of these
are fairly general ideas.

     2. That which causes joy or happiness.

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